Every month here on BigHospitality we bring you an insight into the hottest catering and hospitality talent of the future in our Rising Stars section. This month Westminster Kingsway College student Ben Arnold talks about his inspirations and aspirations as he prepares for a career in the industry.
Rising Star: Ben Arnold
Course title and college: Professional Chef Diploma NVQ Level 3, Westminster Kingsway College, London
Graduation date: October 2008
When did you first realise you wanted to work in hospitality?: While I was growing up in Ireland I was strongly influenced by my mother, a fantastic home cook who produces good, honest regional food. I got a part time job from the age of 16 until 19 in a local restaurant, starting at the bottom as a Kitchen Porter working my way through the front of house and finally running my own section in the kitchen. This was an excellent learning experience and qualified in my mind that I wanted to be a chef.
What have been your biggest achievements to date?: Winning the Robbie Millar Scholarship, Young Irish Chef of the Year 2008. This was a real challenge but a thoroughly enjoyable one. The competition consisted of a two hour mystery basket, to create three courses for two covers with wine pairings. I was also the only student in the final. Also being chosen to represent Great Britain on the junior team, at the World Culinary Olympics in October this year and being part of a three-week work experience trip to Mexico through competition achievement, working in one of the country`s top restaurants, Pujol.
Where would you most like to work when you graduate?: All being well I am going to work in the kitchens of the House of Commons. I have chosen this establishment due to its excellent team and reputation for quality food, the in house training provided and further competition opportunity. I feel that I will learn a lot there and gain valuable industry experience.
Who do you most admire in the hospitality industry and why?: My two college lecturers/mentors Vince Cottam and Simon Stocker. I have learnt so much from these two incredibly talented chefs for which I am ever grateful. Over the past three years they have taught me the practical skills, prepared and mentored me for competition, which resulted in me winning 10 gold medals, three of which I achieved at Hotelympia 2008, and four silver medals. They have pushed me and really helped me in my progression as a chef. If it wasn’t for them I would not be where I am today. When it comes to learning, teaching and advice there is no one better. There are also so many other great head chefs in the industry who have set a high standard for young chefs like myself.
What are you looking forward to most when you graduate and start work?: I`m really
looking forward to getting stuck into working life and progressing my learning and skills, producing food to a high standard and pushing myself to achieve the best results. Also, competing at the World Culinary Olympics, it is a great honour for me to be representing Great Britain, I am really looking forward to the challenge.
What do you think will be the biggest challenges you will face in your career in hospitality?: I think certainly in the first few years it is important to choose the most suitable establishment in relation to my style so that I get the best training and grounding in the industry. Being able to manage myself and others around me will be a challenge. My two goals are firstly to achieve industry recognition for my achievements. I want to push myself to be one of the best around and I am determined to do this, however there are always going to be testing and difficult times to overcome, this is the challenge. Secondly I would love to be head chef/owner of my own fine dining style restaurant, it has always been a desire and hopefully through hard work and perseverance I can achieve this.
Do you know any Rising Stars? If you are a tutor on a hospitality and catering course and would like to put forward a student, or if you are student and want to tell us about your future plans email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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